Quite a challenge which our master craftsman, Brian rose to and conquered very well indeed.
What a special afternoon I had with the Wozniak Family in their beautiful new home in St Paul. As soon as the first sketches started coming through, it was clear that the story had found a kindred spirit. Polly is also the co-founder of the Brighton-based puppet company, The Long Nose Puppets, created with her friend and former colleague in illustration at Brighton University, Katherine Morton.
Polly: When I first read Birdman, I felt fluttery excitement and a moving sadness all at once, a strange combination! Polly: Here’s a Little Poem was a massive project, a real chance to stretch myself as an illustrator — actually not only a chance to stretch, a chance to jump and dance and swing my arms about shouting!
7-Imp: Your web site indicates that Penguin was shortlisted for the British Book Design award.
7-Imp: Your illustrations have what Publishers Weekly called a “light-as-air” quality to them -– and a real euphoria.
Polly: As much as I love to have fun with my work, I feel it needs to have some emotional depth.
7-Imp: I’ve said several times here at 7-Imp that your work, in several ways, smacks of Maurice Sendak to me -– while at the same time being All Polly, if that makes any sense (and this is a compliment, by the way. 7-Imp: Your site says your first two books, “cartoon books inspired by teenage antics,” were published when you were sixteen. 7-Imp: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book, particularly when it’s one you have written? Polly: I usually get ideas for stories when I’m not trying to think of one, which can lead to agony when you need to write one and trying to ignore the fact.
Polly: Long Nose Puppets is a theatre company I set up with my best friend, Katherine Morton. Polly: One day I would like to paint large canvases, to hang in those otherwise empty rooms! 7-Imp: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Interview with Madelyn Travis at Booktrust Children’s Books at the release of Penguin. Note from your webmaster: we are testing a recaptcha solution to address recent spam aggression. And it seems evil Gavin Sullivan is pushing the Mitchells in a way no East End villain has ever done before.
The week starts with Phil turning up at the Mitchells battered and bruised after nearly a fortnight in the clutches of Gavin and his hard men. And Sharon, who was hellbent on divorcing Phil before she realised the state he was in, will find her world come crashing down around her as she struggles to get through to Phil who remains silent on what went on with Gavin. Phil eventually has a heart-to-heart with Sharon and when Ben turns up to check in on him, he sees his dad struggling to come to terms with everything that’s happened. The Mitchells are getting more and more concerned for Phil as he continues to refuse to speak to Marsden about what happened and when Ben learns Kathy has been contacted by Gavin, he fears for his dad’s safety. With some words of advice from Paul, Ben takes matters into his own hands and attempts to bring his family back together.
Either way, it leads to an explosive Halloween for our Walford favourites with Ben, Kathy and Phil finding themselves in a terrifying situation. It was falling apart, had been stored outdoors for years and had old oily engines stored inside it!


Information on this site may or may not be true and BabyRazzi LLC makes no warranty as to the validity of any claims. The happiness on their faces and the beauty in their love for their children and family was a blast to photograph.
I’m about as excited as she looks, because Polly, pictured here, has stopped by 7-Imp today to chat with us. Dog Blue, which manages to channel Early Sendak something fierce (yet still with Polly’s own signature style), tells the story of young Bertie, who really wants a blue dog. Both Shoe Baby and Flyaway Katie have been adapted to the stage via Long Nose — and with music from none other than Tom Gray of Gomez.
It was so lovely to wake up each day with a large empty page and a new poem to challenge me.
Though I don’t know anything about that award, I can see easily how that book would be honored for its design. Your mother also said in her bio for Shoe Baby that you love to draw “shoes, animals, birds, giants, babies.” What draws you to that subject matter as an illustrator? And the children are always, as The Observer wrote, “alive with curiosity.” You seem to be drawn toward stories (or write your own stories) that convey the power of a child’s imagination (Dog Blue and Flyaway Katie, to name two). If I have drawn a really strong picture, I’m then free to color it with as much frivolity as I like. My Mum was always writing and my Dad is an artist, so I think this encouraged me to start from an early age! There are a lot of seagulls in Brighton, and I spend quite a lot of time watching them, watching me. They are about a little girl called Tilly who lives in a yellow house with her five friends {pictured here}, who are all animals! Wish she was doing our second book {Brian Karas is illustrating a book of bedtime poems out in 2010} but Polly is greatly in demand now – which is as it should be. He manages to get his wish, though that wish fulfillment isn’t at all what he had expected it to be. However, Penguin (pictured here) will not answer or respond to him in any way, no matter what Ben does, until they finally discover some common ground. I wanted each page turn to be a surprise, to keep myself entertained as much as the reader.
Tell us about that honor and what drew you to tell the story of Ben and his reticent penguin.
The book came at just the right time; we had wanted to do a book together, but it had to be the right story and I think we were both in tune with each other on Shoe Baby.
I think this is true — they can be very expressive and daft and have character all of their own. The first book I wrote came about almost by accident, when I was sixteen and revising for my exams.
Penguin came to me very quickly from a simple sketch of a penguin biting a little boy’s nose.
I’m surrounded by books, pens, brushes, toys, puppets and general muddle and about a million bits of colored paper.
To be able to collaborate with friends on something creative and then jump in a van and drive to new and exciting places has been brilliant. They are a new invention we have on our street to stop the seagulls picking at the rubbish and making a big mess (I live on TIDY STREET, so they are very important!). Such a fun plethora of fanciful art, and I LOVE that in the picture with her best bud, she has paint on her hands.


I think it’s the best poetry anthology for young children I have seen in many, many years.
At times it was quite daunting, working on such a big project it’s hard to see it as a whole, and I hoped it would all hang together in the end. I like shoes in the same way I like expressive hats…or even flying machines, for that matter (I wish I had a cupboard full of those!).
I would like to be organized enough to color-code the paper, but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. Her puppet-astic solution to the isolation of being an illustrator (wish I could do this, too.) And of course, her amazing work. It is so rare in children’s books that you see such vulnerability in the parent and such strength in the child. I wanted nothing to interfere with the text and the illustration and the synergy between the two.
Stories fall apart like houses of cards if they don’t have a good foundation in something real. Meeting the children in the audience has been a huge joy, too, and I think has definitely fed in to my work. Reproduced by permission of the illustrator and the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA. I wanted the contrast between Ben’s emotional and explosive temper and Penguin’s stillness to be emphasized. I am influenced by him, of course; it’s lovely to think you can absorb a bit from those who’s work that you love, but hopefully in a respectful way!
Writing a story is a bit of a balancing act, or a jigsaw puzzle — all the pieces have to fit. They were inspired from my days of house-sharing, at one time I shared a room with three friends?!
Putting the characters against a plain background gave me space to play with the book as a whole object.
Imagination is the most important part of life, and it is a shame that it’s shooed away by adulthood.
Then there is the drawing: I feel like I have to go in to training when I come up with a new character, drawing them over and over again until I know exactly who they are and what they look like, and then I can draw them spontaneously without having to think. During those months my flat was an explosion of colored paint and paper and drawings of children everywhere. Poop is pictured here.} I had such vivid images of them while reading the book, I had to draw them all as fast as I could to stop them running away and to keep the freshness and emotion I felt on the first reading. You can really mould the book exactly the way you want, trimming a word here and a picture there. Then after quite a few years of hard work, I graduated in to the world of picture books — hurray!
I kept the tone quite dark and muted at the beginning, saving up all the brightness and light for the flying machine finally at the end. It is the magic glue that binds the shows together, perfect for children and their parents, as it is catchy yet not patronizing in any way. All things, at any time of life, start with an idea or a vision, however crazy they may seem at first.




Confidence building measures
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